Attention Spammers: New Rules for Marketing Via Text and Email

Attention Spammers: New Rules for Marketing Via Text and Email


Before franchisors (or any company) starts sending commercial texts or emails, they should be aware of the new rules regarding this type of marketing.  The Federal Communications Commission and its CAN-SPAM laws govern the rules related to text marketing and email marketing, which means that any person, including business entities and nonprofit associations, that initiates commercial e-mail messages must comply with the CAN-SPAM Act requirements.


Importantly, CAN-SPAM does not ban unsolicited emails or text messages, but the senders of these types of messages must be sure that the content is honest and relevant to the sender and includes three things: (a) identification; (b) an opt-out mechanism; and (c) a return address.  Specifically, the email must be clearly identified as a solicitation or advertisement for products or services.  Also, the email must provide easily accessible, legitimate and free ways for the recipient to reject future messages from that sender. And, the email must contain legitimate return email addresses, as well as the sender’s postal address.


These types of messages, however, must be sent without the use of an auto-dialier (i.e. an electronic device that dials telephone numbers randomly or from a list and may also leave recorded messages or request information) – unless the receiver previously gave consent or the message is sent for emergency reasons.


Recipients of these types of messages can give consent in different ways, depending on the type of message and type of device.  For texts and emails sent to a mobile device, consent must be in writing for commercial messages, but consent may be oral for non-commercial messages (e.g. political messages).  For commercial emails sent to a computer, consent may be either oral or written.  But, senders of these types of messages must include the name of the entity that will be sending the messages and, if different, the name of the entity advertising the products or services. Also, senders must include a mechanism to opt-out (and honor such requests within 10 days), which must be the same way they opted in, which as responding with a short code.


For more details and information about the CAN-SPAM rules, visit the FCC’s website.